A chicken could become as unreachable as caviar in many poor countries, warns a study of the OECD and the United Nations. Chicken is projected to rise in price by 30 percent in the next ten years – inflation adjusted. Other staple foods such as corn, sugar or cooking oil are seen rising in price by twenty percent. Why? On one side of the ledger is higher demand, mainly from China and India. On the other side: „Increasingly, the crop doesn’t end up in the pot, but as fuel in the tanks of cars,“ says the German magazine Der Spiegel.
This trend is fueled, so to speak, by a shortage of water and higher energy costs. “Higher prices may be good for farmers, for people who spend a large share of their income on food, this is a catastrophe,“ says OECD General Secretary Angel Gurría.
In the coming week, agricultural ministers of the G20 will have a meeting in Paris to discuss the price increases. Aid organization Oxfam doesn’t expect any results from the meeting. The organization predicts that governments will not stop their ethanol subsidies. Oxfam warns:
“Huge numbers of people, especially in the world’s poorest countries, are cutting back on the quantity or quality of the food they eat because of rising food prices. World leaders – especially leaders of the powerful G20 countries – must act now to fix our broken food system. They must regulate the commodity markets and reform flawed biofuels policies to keep food prices in check.”
What seems to have more results are buyer strikes against ethanol, such as the one in Germany.